Her Doctrine and Morals

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

16 July 2017


The Sunday


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The Sunday Sermon Archive

(This Sunday Sermon is from the 1996 Archives.)

Dear Friends,

When on the first occasion the Lord was about to work this miracle (as recorded in today's Gospel), He first cured those who suffered from illness of the body. Here He does the same. For after He had healed the blind and the lame, He goes on to work the same miracle.

But why did the Disciples on that occasion say to Him: Send away the multitudes (Mt.14,15), while on this occasion, though three days had now passed, they do not say it? It was either because they were now wiser men, or else because they saw that the people did not seem greatly troubled by hunger: for they were praising and glorifying God for what had taken place amongst them.

But observe how on this occasion also He does not simply proceed at once to the miracle, but calls His Disciples to Him for this purpose. For, the multitudes came to Him for healing; they did not dare to ask for bread. But He, kind and foreseeing, gives it to them even though they do not ask, and says to His Disciples: I have compassion on the multitude, and shall not send them away fasting. And lest they say that the people had come with food for the way, He says: "They have now been with Me three days" so that even had they brought some, it would now be consumed. He did not do this on the first day, or the second, but when everything was gone; so that when they were reduced by want, they would acclaim the miracle with greater good will. And so He says, Lest they faint in the way, confirming that they were far from home, and that they had nothing.

But if you do not wish to send them away fasting, why do You not work a miracle? This is the question the Disciples would ask and its purpose was to make them alert and show more faith. He wanted them to come to Him and say: Make loaves. But they did not even see the need for the question. There are many things we can learn from a detailed meditation on the minutest of details. We might learn the sensitivity of Our Lord for the people from the words that were spoken. Yet, how often do we blaspheme and blame God for the various calamities that befall us in life? Never, if ever, do we look inside ourselves and see that our own turnings away from God and His commands have merited for us even greater misfortunes.

Nevertheless, God has protected us from many mishaps and reverses in life, whereas others who may have been even more pleasing in His sight have suffered tremendous misfortune. In the United States, the tragedy of the ValuJet airplane that crashed into the swamps of Florida with total loss of all on board should serve as a sobering lesson to everyone. We are often reminded by the Word of God that we know neither the hour nor the day when we will be called to render an account of our lives. Clearly, the confluence of accidental elements into that tragic event made it possible for all involved to render an account of their lives. And, for those who foolishly deceive themselves into seeking an escape from responsibility by inventing the idea of ‘reincarnation,' it can only be said that they are playing silly games with eternity.

God's mercy prepares the way for repentance. But those who give His mercy a meaning that is not in keeping with His justice harm only themselves and those who would believe them. Jesus worked many miracles; but not many persevered in their faith in Him. They render a great disservice to people who encourage them to deceive themselves into thinking that even though Our Lord had compassion for the hungry who hungered in order to be with Him, yet He would not hide from these same people the need for repentance and return to Him as their only Savior. Anyone, therefore, who would claim to "believe" the Scriptures, must surely see how illogical is the view that the Holy Spirit inspires everyone and that each one's "belief" is praiseworthy in the sight of the Author of all grace and truth. No greater mockery of true religion can be found in our days than that hosted by John Paul II in Assisi in October of 1986 where even the "religion" of atheists was credited to being the work of the Holy Spirit!

There should be no doubt in the minds of reasonable and reasoning people that all those who have their own doctrines would find the truth spoken by Jesus "offensive". Could it be otherwise? And so, in connection with the miracle of the five loaves, we might consider the symbolism employed by Jesus in warning the people against the "leaven" of the Pharisees (Modern day Talmudists) which did not mean the leaven of bread, but their doctrines. His rebuke awakened some among them to the point of their leaving their Talmudic observances and returning to the true faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which is the same faith as that of every Roman Catholic.

Our Lord used these visible signs of spiritual realities because He already knew that attempting to reach them with supernatural truths would be impossible without a gradual and progressively spiritual presentation of the mysteries of the faith.

We could learn from today's Gospel the genuine compassion that God has for the hungry, whether in material bread or the bread of faith. Whatever may be our condition, we ought not fall into the demonic trap of losing sight of God's compassion for us.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary Convert Russia!

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